The United Launch Alliance is preparing to launch its most powerful rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, after a delay of weeks due to equipment and bad weather. Raises a classified gray satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The mission was ready to fly for a full month after the first launch attempt of the rocket, which was stopped three seconds before the liftoff.
The Rocket Delta IV Heavy Vehicle, which is on board the UALA mission, has three rocket cores connected to each other. It’s one of the most powerful rockets in the world, despite the low power packed into SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. The Delta IV Heavy ULA often does not fly because it is an expensive vehicle to build, but the company uses rockets for larger and heavier satellites that go into higher and higher orbits.
The rocket’s payload is NROL-44, and like all NRO missions, its purpose is shrouded in mystery. The office just notes “NRL-44 supports the NRO’s overall national security mission to provide intelligence data to senior United States policy makers, the intelligence community and the Department of Defense.” The UAE has already launched 29 missions for the NRO, many of which require Delta IV Heavy.
URA is set to launch NRL-44 on the morning of August 29th. The ULA Liftofin calculated in seconds that the main engines of the Delta IV heavy were briefly ignited. But the engines abruptly shut down and the rocket was fixed on the launchpad. The ULA later learned that the ground equipment had failed. It took the company a few weeks to replace the faulty equipment.
Further issues with the launchpad’s equipment have pushed the launch time back, but the ULA is expected to take off this week. Unfortunately the weather is unacceptable and bad conditions delay efforts on Monday and Tuesday. But in the end, there’s a 70 percent chance that the weather will contribute to tonight’s launch – so maybe tonight.
Delta IV Heavy will take off at 11:54 PM ET on Tuesday from the ULA launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Of the ULA Launch the blog It starts at 3:15 PM ET, and its webcast starts at 11:34 PM ET, for anyone expecting a midnight launch that is still awake.
September 30, 3:00 PM ET Update: This post was updated from an old post after multiple launch delays.